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Article:NFL Rookies must earn their keep

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There have been few things in sports that I have spoken out against more than the current and insane pay that NFL rookies get the moment they dawn an NFL uniform.  It completely undermines the difficulty of the NFL game itself as well as the difficulty of a college player to adjust to the speed and nuances of the pros.  The NFL has expanded so much that it is almost unfair to even expect a rookie to make an earth-shattering impact on a franchise at all.  Not every team will have an Adrian Peterson in their backfield.  

Therefore, I'm happy to hear that Roger Goodell finally sees the absolute BS in paying rookies salaries that only CEOS could dream of before they are even christened on an NFL field.  The BS further expanded last year when the Oakland Raiders had to practically wait until the regular season to see their #1 pick Jamarcus Russell because he JUST HAD to get his $$$$ first.  Dosen't it seem just a tad backward when ROOKIES are putting off training camp and practice because the Scott Boras's and Drew Rosenhaus's of the world are chewing their ear off? 

No league should EVER have a rookie pay system that operates in this manner.  But if any league has a legitimate claim to adopt it, then the NBA is the league that everyone would think of immediately.  Derrick Rose immediately gives the Chicago Bulls hope of recapturing the glory days of the 90's and there's a great chance that impact will be felt right away.  However, the NBA obviously regconizes the importance of players proving themselves on the court before getting a piece of the pie. 

http://www.mynbadraft.com/NBA-Rookie-Salary-Scale-2007


Let's examine a couple of reasons why this insane NFL rookie pay should be Ctrl-Alt-Deleted and thrown in the Recycle Bin:


EXHIBIT A:

ALEX SMITH - 49ERS QB

- Signed a 6 year, $49.5 million dollar contract with $24 million in guaranteed cash.  His base annual salary was higher than Eli Manning.  Do we really need to compare Eli Manning's current status to Alex Smith's?  It has been three years since this deal has taken place, and we're still waiting for Alex Smith to show up. 

EXHIBIT B:

MATT RYAN - FALCONS QB

- This signing is a danger sign for how far the rookie pay has reached.  Despite being the third pick in the draft, the Falcons rewarded Ryan with a six-year, $72 million dollar deal with $34.75 million dollars in guaranteed money. 

With each successive draft, highly drafted rookies, especially rookie QBs are being paid more and more.   At this rate, rookies could potentially be signing $100 million dollar deals in the next few years! 

Another thought:  A team who gets the #1 pick MAY most likely be the team that is rebuilding.  Dosen't it seem counterproductive to invest a great deal of money into an unproven source and possibly compromise your cap room?

I'm thankful to have a decent job with a good salary while still in college.  But even when one graduates from the Harvards and the Yales of the world, he or she still has to start from the bottom at an entry-level salary and work their way up the ladder.  With the top entry-level entrants in the NFL giving their pot of gold early before paying their dues, it's possible that their passion for the game could be affected from the get-go.


Kudos to Goodell for crying foul on this rookie pay system. 



About damn time.


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